We pointed you the way to go

Blog hiatus is over.  Did you miss me?  I honestly didn’t have anything to write about for, like, four weeks; school was being extra terrible, blah blah blah.  But with this delightfully random week off from school (deemed “Ski Week” by the administration), my spirit was rejuvenated by none other than a weekend trip to San Francisco!  The first order of business of the excursion was to visit UC Berkeley and to ascertain whether or not I would actually go there.  The second was to attend a very special and amazing and heavenly concert at the Great American Music Hall, but I’ll get to that later.  Get ready for a fat and juicy post.

Berkeley, as expected, was a gorgeous school.  The answer to the lingering question of ‘would-you-go-there-?’ is YES (hear that, Mom?).  I thought that the campus was a pleasant mixture of modern and antique architecture, greenery, and hills– the latter a pervasive yet awesome characteristic of San Fran.  Despite my preconceived notion/fear of it being an unbearably huge UC school, it really wasn’t; we were able to trek all the way across campus and back with little difficulty.  We were there on a slightly lazy Saturday, as in not many students bothering to roll out of bed before noon, but those Cal students that we saw seemed friendly and happy.  That’s always a good sign.

And then there was Sunday.  I felt like a tourist on steroids. We started by scaling a hill to get to the base of Coit Tower (which you can see in the picture below behind our heads) and then caught an elevator up to the top of the tower.  After taking a couple of scenic shots and looking down at the city, we went back down and decided to walk to Little Italy/the Beat neighborhood.  I’ve had some exposure to that 1950’s time period from reading Kerouac’s On The Road and Big Sur, so naturally I found it cool to walk the same streets that the Beat writers did.  The famous City Lights Bookstore that we stopped at was absolutely drenched in history, almost eerie with all its vintage artwork and those narrow, crickety stairs.  It was there that I presumptuously sat in the “Poet’s Chair” and mimicked the seated posture of a sage old man for the sake of a photo.  Next, whilst we did not actually enter the Beat Museum, we browsed through the gift shop, which was chock full of Beat generation memorabilia and even autographed copies of books.  The guy working at the counter kindly suggested that I read The Dharma Bums as my next Kerouac exploration, so I bought that and a Kerouac T-shirt (I’m so hip).  Surely I won’t look pretentious wearing that one.

To concisely sum up the remainder of our tourist day, we proceeded to climb up another colossal hill (the picture below shows us at the top) and walked down to Ghirardelli Square for a well-deserved treat.  There was no way we were walking back to the hotel with all that chocolate bubbling in our stomachs, so we took the easy way out and caught a cable car.

Did you notice my teeth?  No braces?  Yeah.  That happened during Ski Week too.  Minor detail.

I’M NOT DONE.  Sunday evening was basically what I had been waiting for all weekend, hence the excitement surging through my body right now as I prepare to write about it.  The initial reason for this trip was to see my favorite musician Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie perform a solo acoustic set for the San Francisco Noise Pop festival.  His show was the last and probably most anticipated of all the bands/artists performing throughout the weeks that the festival was going on, and it was sold out pretty quickly.  Zach Rogue of the band Rogue Wave opened for him.

So, rightfully anticipating a huge crowd and hoping to avoid a General Admission disaster (i.e. getting crammed between tall or chunky people = obstructed vision and discomfort), I wanted to arrive two hours before the doors opened.  Call me crazy, but while Allison and I snagged the [below] picture in front of the venue, a girl arrived and took our first in line spot.  We had to settle for second in line.  People started to pile in not long after that, so it was definitely worth getting there early.

We obviously got front row, although about six professional photographers tried to coax us into letting them take our spots.  They ended up just congregating around us, which wasn’t too much of a problem anyway.  During the concert, one of them tried to help me take good pictures with my iPhone because I was clearly photographically challenged.  This was my not-too-shabby result:


No camera zoom magic here. This is seriously how close we were.

My diehard fan/music dork self decided to jot down Ben’s entire setlist on my phone ‘notepad’ as the concert went along.  I probably looked obsessive mouthing and half-singing the lyrics to every single song, but hey, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one!  I was thrilled when Ben sat down at the piano and said that he was going to play the title track from DCFC’s new record coming out in May.  I don’t even know if anything comprehensible can come out of my mouth to describe the new song– how about xcnipqgh!!!!AMAZING!!!!asdfkdf.  By the way, I’m not biased at all… hehe…

Now for my claim to fame and mildly embarrassing moment during the concert.  While bantering with the crowd in between songs, Ben posed the question “Are you guys enjoying Noise Pop so far?”, which elicited a roaring response.  Allison and I must have raised our voices to answer “Ohhhh yeah” a little too loudly, prompting him to singularly point at me and ask “Who’ve you seen so far?”  My mind blanked, startled that THE MUSIC GOD HAD JUST ADDRESSED ME.  Of course, I’d seen no other Noise Pop shows, so I just shook my head and said nobody.  Fortunately I was saved by a jokester in the crowd who shouted out “Zach Rogue!” (the opener to this concert).  Regardless, I felt pretty privileged to be the one pointed out.  Definitely my most memorable concert experience– not that I’ve had that many.

Hope this wasn’t too lengthy or boring!  I was just itching to let everything out.  Thanks for taking me to San Francisco, Mom!

*Title: “Tears of Rage” by The Band


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